The American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the 2022 recipients of its three competitive annual fellowships and awards programs: the Archie Green Fellowships, the Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund Award, and the Henry Reed Fund Award. This year, these three awards went to seven projects throughout the United States, whose proposals were reviewed and selected by internal and external panels at the American Folklife Center.
Archie Green Fellowships
- Folklorist Taylor Dooley Burden of Rockport, Indiana, received an Archie Green Fellowship to document “The Occupational Lives of Religious Workers in Kentuckiana.” Burden notes that “For most who participate in a religious tradition, their faith is personal and often private. For religious leaders, however, their faith is also their occupation.” She plans to interview religious leaders in Indiana and Kentucky and record “the vibrant and diverse occupational folklife of those serving God and their communities as their life’s vocation.” There has been little previous ethnographic research that looks at clergy from an occupational perspective. Burden’s plan to reach out to a wide range of clergy working in Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other religious institutions in the upland south will begin to fill this gap and generate an innovative and informative collection of oral histories.
- “Poultry Workers of North Carolina” will be the focus of Durham, North Carolina-based labor historian Leigh Campoamor’s Archie Green Fellowship research. “Chicken is the main agricultural product of North Carolina,” and the U.S. poultry industry, concentrated in the South, has undergone major changes over the last decades, towards corporate consolidation, contract farming, and a system of factory employment that relies largely on staffing agencies. Through interviews with North Carolina poultry workers–including farmers, factory workers, and others who occupy discrete positions on the production chain–this project will document the essential workers who uphold this key national industry. These interviews will provide insight into the everyday work lives of the people whose work keeps America fed.
- “Resignation, Rethinking, and Recruitment: The Occupational Culture of Executive Search Consultants” will be the focus of Washington, D.C. folklorist James Deutsch’s Archie Green Fellowship research. He will conduct in-depth interviews with executive search consultants reflecting the diversity of this white collar occupational group and the types of executive searches they conduct, types of companies they work for, and types of clients they serve. Interviewees will reflect the increasing racial, ethnic, gender and geographic diversity of their field. The project director, who is an experienced folklorist and researcher, seeks to explore and document this influential group’s shared sets of skills, traditions, specialized knowledge, and codes of behavior—while also seeking to record their expert commentary on the recent phenomenon known as the Great Resignation.
- Marion Jacobson and Makalé Faber Cullen of West Orange, New Jersey received an Archie Green Fellowship for the project “Bread, Rum and Sugar: Caribbean Bakeries in New York and New Jersey.” Inspired by the rich baking traditions and retail legacies of New York and New Jersey’s Caribbean communities, folklorist Marion Jacobson and food scholar Makalé Faber Cullen will conduct an ethnography and oral history project documenting the occupational folklore and culinary traditions of bakery owners, bakers, and bakery workers in the metropolitan New York region. Follow-up community-based spin-off projects and a photo exhibit at the Newark Public Library, in partnership with the Folklife Center of Northern New Jersey, are also planned.
- A “National Survey of K-12 Teachers,” led by folklorist Thomas Grant Richardson of Santa Fe, New Mexico, received an Archie Green Fellowship to conduct 56 in-depth interviews with teachers across the U.S., (i.e., one teacher from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia). The project’s online interviews will document the occupational experiences of the master teachers who are recipients of the prestigious Teacher of the Year Award presented by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Teachers are believed to be the largest occupational group in the U.S. and this project contributes a valuable national perspective to the Occupational Folklife Project collection and the AFC archive. Richardson has assembled and will coordinate an excellent team of folklorists to conduct the interviews and is collaborating with Local Learning, the nationally respected folk arts and education non-profit.
The Gerald E. And Corinne L. Parsons Fund Award For Ethnology at the Library of Congress
The Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons fund was established by AFC reference librarian Gerry Parsons (1940-1995) in honor of his parents. It enables individuals to come to the Library of Congress to pursue research at the American Folklife Center and other LC divisions with ethnographic holdings. This year, the Parsons Award was split between two innovative projects:
- Navajo musician and artist Jeneda Benally received a Parsons Fund Award to bring a team of Indigenous Youth Advisors to the Library to research and create content for the public radio program “Indigenous YOUth Nation.” The team will work with AFC/Library staff to access collections containing traditional knowledge, discuss the impact of archival materials on their own communities, bring their listeners some of their own cultural stories, and build bridges between generations.
- Ethnomusicologist Edward Herbst of Middletown, Connecticut, received a Parson Fund Award to spend several three weeks at the Library researching Indonesian materials as part of the “1928 Restoration, Research and Repatriation Project,” a collaborative initiative undertaken in cooperation with the Indonesian institute STIKOM-Bali. Specifically, funding will enable Herbst to research the Margaret Mead Collection to catalog Balinese traditional masks and other cultural history, and to review never-before-seen Mead-Bateson-Belo film footage.
The Henry Reed Fund Award
The bi-annual Henry Reed Fund was established in honor of American old-time fiddler Henry Reed and first awarded in 2004, with an initial gift from founding American Folklife Center director and fiddler Alan Jabbour. The purpose of the fund is to provide modest awards to support activities directly involving folk artists, especially when their activities reflect, draw upon, or strengthen the collections of the American Folklife Center.
This year’s award goes to E. Anthony (Tony) Collins, a filmmaker and teacher from Los Angeles, California, to support his project “Missouri Fiddlin’: A Digital Archive of Old-Time Fiddlers in Missouri.” Reed funds will support the revitalization of Collins’ 1970s-1980s documentation project that recorded numerous prominent regional fiddlers; the online dissemination of the project’s materials; and follow-up contemporary interviews with Gordon McCann and Howard Marshall, longstanding musicians in the Missouri Old-time community. In addition, Reed funds will facilitate the acquisition of the Missouri Fiddlin’ Collection and resulting documentation by the LOC and others, using SEO and other tools.
About the Center and the Library
The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to “preserve and present American Folklife” through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the American Folklife Center Archive of folk culture, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. For more information, visit the AFC homepage at loc.gov/folklife.
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website.